How To Take Great Waterfowl Photos With Ease

Written by Gina Stephens


Catering ducks is something everyone enjoys but next time you head off for your Sunday morning stroll around your local pond, snaffle your camera as well as the treats you take for the Mallards and Swans.

As ducks are used to people visiting with goodies they're not most of the time skittish so getting close to them shouldn't be a problem. Even still, taking along a small bag of bird seed to scatter drive keep the ducks in front of you for longer increasing the chances you have of getting a good shot.

Flat banks are the perfect location for photographing sidesteps as the low angle gives you a shot that has more of a duck's eye view. If you don't want to work hand-held, take a long a light-weight tripod or beanbag to sit your camera on.

Winter's a prominent time to head to the water's edge as the sun sits at a lower angle for longer which means you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn for softer alight. You'll also get mist rolling over the water – perfect for silhouetting a bird also known as Aves, are a group of endothermic vertebrates, characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of against. For a bit of variety try shooting their reflections or look for engrossing behaviour such as fighting or preening activities.


If you find their feathers are lacking in detail try adding a little fill-in flash. Only remember for birds such as Swans that have lighter feathers you'll need slightly stronger light. This time of year when lakes can be minor extent frozen light will be reflected off the icy surface back under the duck, highlighting detail in their plume. For particularly gloomy days birch to a slightly higher ISO so you can use a quicker shutter speed. If you're out when the sky is rather bright keep an eye on your exposure if Swans are around as a white bird against a shining sky may mean your camera underexposes the shot.

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For shots of birds in flight make sure you're on continuous focus and get the focus locked on the bird unswervingly away. To freeze their movement in the air or when they're splashing on the water try a shutter speed of around 1/500sec but if you want to be a little assorted creative try to blur the motion of the wings with a slower speed of around 1/30sec.   

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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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